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Education in Africa is a crucial issue closely tied to the health and living conditions of children. However, the quality and performance of education need improvement in the region. It’s concerning that less than half of the children master the basics of reading, and a quarter of those reaching primary school age lack the necessary foundation. Moreover, over a third of children haven’t even reached the level of fourth grade.

Ensuring that students genuinely have the opportunity to acquire the necessary knowledge at each schooling stage is essential. To achieve this, educational democratization requires profound reforms in the educational systems to accommodate the increasing number of students while maintaining teaching quality.

Facing these challenges, education stakeholders in Africa are adopting innovative approaches, considering digital realities, involving communities, and emphasizing practical applications. This includes the use of mobile devices like cell phones and smartphones, which reach a wide audience, even those in remote areas that were previously excluded from formal education systems.

Adapting to the digital landscape is crucial, but it’s also essential to train individuals in using these tools effectively. Furthermore, language can be a factor of exclusion, so efforts are being made to provide teaching content in local languages to better cater to the needs of learners.

The educational landscape in Africa is evolving with the emergence of new initiatives and projects to address the challenges of education in an ever-changing digital context. Among these initiatives, TooShare stands out, offering a socio-educational platform inspired by social media codes to encourage youth engagement and combat dropout rates. By adopting this innovative approach, TooShare hopes to attract more students and actively involve them in their learning.

Similarly, Nomad Education adapts to the specific needs of African countries by providing free and offline access to local educational content. This approach has significantly increased the number of subscribers in French-speaking Africa. By providing educational resources tailored to local contexts, Nomad Education contributes to enhancing access to education for African populations.

In this rapidly changing digital ecosystem, adaptation is essential. However, it’s crucial not to underestimate the importance of user training. To fully benefit learners, these digital initiatives must equip them with the necessary skills to master these new educational tools.

Education in Africa is a major concern for UNESCO and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), considering it a top priority. Faced with education-related challenges on the continent, these organizations work closely together to develop relevant indicators.

To assess the situation in African schools, the UIS focuses on basic facilities, such as access to electricity and clean water, as well as learning conditions, including the availability of textbooks and class sizes, including the prevalence of multigrade classes. This essential information helps to better understand the challenges and opportunities for education in Africa.

Among the critical issues identified, the shortage of teachers affects seven out of ten African countries. The UIS collects detailed data on teacher training, recruitment, and working conditions, providing essential information to address this crucial issue.

Another major focus is girls’ education. UIS data reveals that a significant number of girls aged 6 to 11 never attend school compared to boys. To address this inequality, UIS produces gender-disaggregated data and develops specific indicators to promote gender equality in education.

The Virtual University of Senegal (UVS) serves as an example of a public response to inequality in higher education on the continent. With the enrolment of 23,000 new students, UVS becomes Senegal’s second-largest university in terms of enrolment, illustrating the importance of this initiative for access to higher education in Africa.

The education needs in Africa are closely linked to the continent’s demographics. According to projections, the African population will reach 2.4 billion people by 2050, with over half of them being under 25 years old. This highlights the urgency and relevance of investing in innovative and tailored educational solutions for this young population.

Mobile education (m-education) emerges as a vital lever to boost the use of information and communication technologies in education. By leveraging mobile phone features such as voice calls, SMS, multimedia applications, and offline connectivity, m-education offers flexible and accessible educational solutions for all, contributing to addressing educational challenges in Africa.

However, to maximize the benefits of these initiatives, it’s crucial to provide training for users, including teachers, students, and other stakeholders involved in the educational process. By supporting users in mastering these tools, m-education can truly catalyse the digital transformation of education in Africa and create new opportunities for the younger generations.

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A propos de Clothilde Giraud

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